CrowdTangle, which was bought by Facebook in 2017, is a tool for media publishers and content creators to track how content spreads online, and to see what content their target audience engages with. CrowdTangle is free to use and can be used – to a certain extent – by anyone, but the platform’s full analytics dashboard is only available to eligible organisations: news publishers, academics, or entertainment content creators, like music labels. However, anyone can use the “CrowdTangle Link Checker” Chrome extension to check where specific links were shared on key digital platforms and evaluate the content’s virality.
This extension is a useful piece of kit: it scans the URL you currently have open – like an artist’s music video, or Spotify playlist – and displays aggregated data showing how many Facebook interactions it got. It also shows how many times it was posted across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit, how many followers the link was seen by and interacted with, and which sources contribute most to the content’s reach and discoverability. This is invaluable information: you can then react to this successful content and build relationships with accounts that shared it.
The Chrome extension is also good for scoping out how the content of other artists in the same genre spreads online, and uncovering Reddit communities or media outlets that share similar music.
CrowdTangle’s Global Music Lead Kelly Perron (pictured) says that music users are some of the most active on the platform. If you are eligible for access to CrowdTangle’s full dashboard, you’ll be able to analyse social data – like interactions, videos views and likes – that is publicly available: if you can see it on a platform, you can see it in CrowdTangle, albeit in an easier and more efficient way. (Private data like Stories, reach, traffic or clicks can’t be tracked.)
The platform automatically tracks larger and influential Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as communities on Reddit. If you’re working with smaller artists, you can add them to CrowdTangle yourself, and it offers other advantages – like being able to look at an artist’s public Instagram data without needing to log into the artist’s account.
Music marketers can use CrowdTangle’s platform in a variety of ways: to keep up with an artist’s socials (Dashboards), to report on campaign performance (Intelligence), to track influential conversations (Search) and to receive real-time launch and event updates (Live Display). Dashboards can be created for Facebook, Instagram and Reddit.
Dashboards are built on lists which group accounts or communities around specific themes. You can create your own custom lists, or use pre-built lists that the CrowdTangle team has made – for Grammy performers and nominees, for instance.
By creating lists of similar artists’ Facebook/Instagram pages, or of Reddit fan communities, you can get a sense of the content that works for them. You’ll see the content posted by the accounts, then sort by ‘Overperforming’, ‘Underperforming’ or ‘Total Interactions’ in a chosen time period. By looking into what works for other artists as well as for yours, you can refine your artist’s content strategy on an in-going basis.
Email or Slack notifications can be set up to deliver reports on, for instance, weekly growth and engagement – so if you notice an underperforming week, you can quickly put in extra effort on socials the week after. You can also receive digests about the top-performing posts in your list, and a “viral alert” feature sends an email as soon as a post from someone in your list overperforms in the first six hours since posting.
Teams can receive these notifications for a whole roster of artists: in effect creating a weekly leaderboard of success on social media. Reddit communities are tracked similarly to keep tabs on what a fan base is talking about so you can react to overperforming threads, or to spot when content picks up steam in broader Reddit communities you’re missing – so you can go in and react, or add these communities to your tracked lists.
The Intelligence feature allows you to explore how artists perform on Facebook and Instagram over time. You can compare up to 20 artists to each other, or benchmark your artist over defined time periods, like social media growth during a previous album campaign vs. the current one. A page or account’s follower growth is shown in terms of new followers, and growth percentage – and by filtering dates, you can spot timeframes that saw a lot of growth. You can choose different date ranges for the artists you’re comparing: for instance, you can track artists’ channel growth during the 90 days post-album release, even if it happened months apart.
For developing artists, this tool can be a great resource to evaluate whether they’re on track – by comparing them with a now-established artist’s growth at the beginning of their career. It’s highly useful data: how fast were the BBC’s Sound Of 2021 nominees, or the artists chosen by DSPs’ emerging artist programs, growing two years ago, for instance?
The Search function helps you stay on top of who is talking about your artist. You can set combinations of keywords – such as your artist’s name, album name, tour, event – and exclude others (such as the artist’s own account), and CrowdTangle will scan their entire database to show posts mentioning these keywords. Again, you can spot overperforming posts, and a Leaderboard feature shows how many times a specific page or account has mentioned the artist, as well as their interaction rate, their follower numbers, etc. This creates opportunities, like identifying media partners with high engagement and an affinity for your artist to offer a video premiere to. You can set up saved searches and leaderboards as notifications, so that you’re always on top of influential conversations happening across the web.
Finally, one of the newer features is CrowdTangle’s Live Display. Live Displays can be built by the platform or by users themselves: they’re similar to Tweetdeck, except they can be filled with different subreddits, and Facebook or Instagram accounts. It’ll then show which communities are talking about specific topics, what kind of content your lists are posting about and how much interaction there is.
If you think CrowdTangle sounds useful, and that you might be eligible, you can request full access to the platform by emailing email@example.com
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